I’m Starting #forrealFebruary, because January was a Trial Month.
I’m going to be real with yall I failed at my new year, new me goals and I’m sure I have company. The anticipation leading up to the new year and looking forward to all it has to offer always make me so gung-ho about accomplishing my New Year’s resolutions. Come New Year’s Day, I’m so ready to sit down at the keyboard and pound out a blog post. I’ll run to the grocery store to buy all my fruits and veggies so I can start juicing. Hell, I even wake up at the crack of dawn to work off those holiday pound. Alas, January 4th rolls around and I forget I have a blog, the kids gone and ate all my fruit and forget about getting up extra early to exercise—I hit the snooze every ten minutes for the next forty minutes with an extra five minutes allotted for giving thanks for being on this side of the living before I even think about getting out of bed. Here, it says that most people fail around January 9th, so I guess I’m ahead of the failure curve.
The other day, my daughter told me she’d seen somewhere on the interverse (the internet), that January was a trial month for New Year’s Resolutions and the real date for starting New Year’s Resolutions is February 1st. Then I read this, and thought, humph, maybe my daughter was on to something. Instead of giving my resolutions a 30-day trial before January 1st, as the article suggest, I’ll use January’s failures to my advantage and let it drive me to success in February. Without all the hoopla of the holidays and the pressures of the new year looming about, I can adjust my goals according to what’s going on in my life.
Because I’m not in a New Year state of mind, so to speak, I need to make sure that I’m just as prepared as I would be if this were January 1st. This is what I’m doing to help me out with the goal setting phase.
I’m setting S.M.A.R.T., positive, realistic goals
First off, I want to make sure my goals are S.M.A.R.T., meaning they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I first learned of this goal-setting method while working in sales. The S.M.A.R.T method, takes a general resolution, for instance, get more exercise and turns into something more specific, like, I going to workout 45-minutes every day until February 15th. It’s a time specific goal that’s measurable and realistically attainable. S.M.A.R.T. goals are great for lifestyle changes resolutions. I can adjust S.M.A.R.T. goals over the long-term to fit into my life.
When it comes to goal setting, I always tend to lean towards the negative prospective of a goal so in the end I feel deprived of something that I want. For instance, instead of making a positive goal like, I’m going to eat more whole grains and vegetables I’ll lean more towards the negative prospect of the goal and say something like I’m not going to eat sweets. I always fail at goals that deprive me, instead of empowering and inspiring me. On that same note, resolutions that are unrealistic for me, often fail. I have quit very few things cold turkey. I love ice cream, cake, and candy,
they make me feel so dandy (in my Shirley Temple voice), setting a goal that I’m going to stop eating them, is setting myself up for failure. A more positive goal for me would be to indulge my sweet tooth once a day with portion control–in my world, that’s a half a pack of Reese’s Pieces or a few spoons of ice cream–as long as I eat 2 servings of whole and 2 servings of vegetables. Now the goal has an automatic reward system, I achieve the goal, I can have some sweets.
Which brings me to the next thing that going to help me be successful at my resolutions,
Making sure my goals are flexible
Good goals are always flexible. So little things in life stay the same. I change and so do my circumstances. Just as I adapt to what’s going on in my life, so must my goals. I also want to have control over my goals, I don’t want them to have control over me. But accomplishing what I set out to do is all about my attitude. Instead of having an all-or-nothing attitude towards my goals I want to have a this-or-that attitude. If I miss 2 pm blog post deadline then I’ll post it after dinner or the next morning by 9. There are going to be days where I’m not going to make my goals precisely the way I want to, and I’m going to have to be okay with that. Minor setbacks happen but staying focus on the bigger picture-what achieving my goals mean to me and my family–keeps me motivated so I don’t feel like a failure and give up altogether.
Other things to help with goal-setting
Write goals down – Seeing goals down on paper makes them real
Make goals challenging – Goals that are too easily attainable gives a false sense of success but, it’s short lived. Realistic but challenging goals are more rewarding when they are achieved.
Live in your calendar – I blogged about why to-do lists don’t work here and how living in your calendar drastically increases your productivity, prioritization and, achievement of my goals.
Now that I have my resolutions written down and I’ve worked out a plan to attain them, I can put the plans into motion. I always seem to have a problem getting started. I can be slow out of the gate, even if I’m enthusiastic leading up to starting, something always seems to take my fire in the beginning. I think my problem lies in how I think things will go and how they actually go differ, most of the time, and I get discourage and lose motivation.
To help me stay the course I’m going to:
Enlist an Accountability Partner
Getting my husband to help me stay on track holds me accountable for achieving my goals and greatly increases my chance of success. When I was doing NaNoWriMo, last November, he was there asking me how things were coming along. I could tell him the challenges I was facing and we’d talk them out. If I didn’t reach a specific target, he would want to know why then we would try to figure out a way to get back on track.
My Accountability Partners is someone close to me and cares enough about me to hold me accountable when I’m slacking in reaching my goals. He’s my cheerleader when I’m fighting to attain my goals, and be there to celebrate with me when I reach my goals. He has as much invested in me as I do, and I do want to let him down.
Find tools to help me stay on track
I am a procrastinator most of the time and a fiddler the rest of the time. If I’m not procrastinating I’m spending valuable time on small mundane task and that drain me of my energy and I appear to be busy but, I’m really filling my time with irrelevant details.
The interverse is full of resources for helping me stay on task and make sure I’m productive as possible. There are also apps for my mobile devices, its finding the right one to suit my all around need. These are the few I use:
Google Calendar as my To-Do List
Traditional to-do list doesn’t for me, I choose to take the path of least resistance and do the easiest possible task and leave the harder task for later. Most of the time later never come then, I’m left feeling regret and stress.
Using my calendar, or living in my calendar as it is called, allows me to set perimeters to my task, like using my alarm to set goal reminders. I can also set time perimeters and set priorities. Living in my calendar help me see if my goals are conflicting with my wife and mother duties or other goals. If the kiddos have a 4 o’clock dentist appointment, I’ll have to reschedule my sewing goal for that day.
MyFitnessPal is a good tool that helps me stay on top of my healthier lifestyle goal. I can track the food I eating, how much exercise I’m getting, and how much water I’m drinking. There’s a website and mobile app that easy and simple to use. And both are free.
I just started using Buffer. It’s a great way for me to share and network on social media without falling for the perils of social media which is a procrastinator’s dream. When I’m on the web and find something I want to share on social media, I use Buffer to schedule specific content sharing times. Buffer then adds it to my queue and share it at that specified time. As a new blogger, it is important for me to have a social media presence so my follower can see my updates more often.
Google Drive / Google Docs
This helps me with my writing, whether it’s writing a blog post of my first draft of my novel, Google Docs is my go-to. I love that I can use it across different platforms, no matter what device I’m using my work is always with me. And now my picture can save to Drive which helps with me organizing my picture for blogging.
I believe I have everything in place now it’s really just up to me. With a little determination, willpower and self-control, I think I can make my New Years resolutions stick for more than 4 days, but if I don’t the year is full of opportunities for fresh starts. I’m starting #forrealFebruary 1st. Will you be joining me?
May God bless you until we meet again.